Internet Marketing Strategies to Stay Ahead of Your Competition

Internet marketing is one of the fastest growing online sectors and least understood. If done strategically, it gives you exposure throughout the Internet for your products and services and will deliver a high rate of return for your efforts. However, since there are so many moving parts that you might not know what to do first, second, and so forth – I have developed an Internet Marketing 101 Checklist:

1. Search Engine Optimization of Content: Content is where it all begins. It engages the visitor and makes them react (buy, read more, bookmark, navigate, etc.). Make certain it is easy to read for people and for search engines to index and rank.

2. Create New Relevant, Keyword Rich Content: Once your website is optimized, you need to be proactive in producing more and more relevant keyword rich content. Again, all content must be relevant to searches and optimized.

3. Utilize a Pay Per Click Campaign: Paying for traffic (visitors click on your online ads) is search engine advertising. You bid for keywords that are related to your products and services which you promote in your website content. It is one of the fastest ways to drive traffic if you are not well ranked on the free or organic side of the search engines.

4. Article Marketing: Writing articles and them more articles is an effective way to drive traffic to your site, position you as an expert in your field, help create more incoming links, and keep your rankings up on the search engines. Once written, articles should be submitted to directories, online PR publishers, and RSS feeds. Every article should be published on your website in an articles or resources page with a bookmark button.

5. Social Media Networking: Face it, we are social creatures. The social media networking explosion is an extension of our egos or ourselves. Just think Facebook or MySpace. Of course there are many networking vehicles you should have a profile on to deliver more information to hungry readers. It is not just for friend to friend interaction. Companies are taking it to the next level and business is being conducted through this social media.

6. Create and Maintain a Blog: Because the online consumer is more in control of what they read and decide, companies must connect with them on a more personal emotional level. In essence, develop an online personality. Humanize your products and services and blog about their direct features and benefits, peppered with testimonials. And the more you blog, the more content is created about you.

7. Video Marketing: With the growing popularity of video, people are more responsive to it than to simple audio or static web pages. Now there are even Internet Television websites where you can post your videos. Having video on your website and placing it on directories will bring your offerings to life and create a greater click through rate.

8. Web Widget Marketing: Widgets are small icons that reside in HTML and highlight specific content from your website. They have the ability to quickly introduce products and services to their target markets. They can reside on websites or blogs, ready to be downloaded to a desktop with a click and are a new marketing technique to build brand awareness.

9. Mobile Marketing: This will take a little time to develop, but it is good to prepare for the next web wave. Websites will emerge that can be easily accessed and read by mobile devices. Your website will in essence be a mobile advert.

10. Email Marketing Strategy: Continue to develop an online relationship with you visitors through continued email marketing campaigns and to grow your online client base. You want to engage your list with relevant content – newsletters, special offers, and information to enhance their lives. Email marketing is still alive and well as long as it is permission based. Customers will continue to look forward to your communications and doing business with you.

Implementing These Strategies: Following these 10 Internet marketing strategies will help you stay ahead of your competition and position you to succeed online.

Pitfalls of Using Social Networking in Internet Marketing

Social networking is a very important aspect of your Internet business and marketing mix and one that cannot be avoided any longer. However, as fun as it is, and as good as it can be, there are some pitfalls that can not only destroy your social networking but also your reputation and your business.

1. Automation — While some automation is necessary you must realize that if you do not answer questions, respond to people, and do not seem human on your social media platform people will notice.

2. Direct messages– Sending direct messages to strangers to tell them about your product or service without their permission should not be done. If they did not ask, don’t send a direct message to them. This is no different than emailing people who have not opted into your list. Just because they follow you or friend you does not mean they want unsolicited direct messages.

3. Spamming — People feel used if every last Tweet or share is something you are selling or making money off. Don’t do it, be less transparent than that.

4. Not reading — Read what people say to you, and respond if is appropriate. Even if you can only read once a day and respond directly then, do so. You could miss a very valuable relationship by not reading what your followers or friends are saying.

5. Going nuts — Don’t send out messages, especially the same message, 56 times a day. Also, I’m not real sure if your entire list of followers and friends needs to know that you just walked from your living room to your kitchen to get coffee. (or worse, went to the bathroom)

6. Addiction — Avoid being obsessive and getting addicted to reading every last tweet or status update all day long because you will fall behind in your work. Set aside specific times to deal with social networking and get back to work the rest of the time.

7. Being negative — Unless you run a review site and are telling people about a review that happened to be negative, try not to be negative on social networking sites. No one likes a downer when they’re trying to socialize and network.

8. Not target marketing — Even within social networking there is much room for targeting your market. Try to separate your business identity with your personal identity as soon as possible so that you do not offend people when you finally realize that you must protect your business followers from your crazy uncle Ned.

9. Not doing it yourself — It is perfectly fine to outsource some aspects of your social media, but the truth is, no one can be “you” as well as you can do you. Save the personal comments to do yourself, let your virtual assistant do some of the other tasks.

10. Making useless comments– Going around making useless comments on message boards, on blogs, on Facebook, Twitter and other avenues will not endear you to your people. So just don’t do it. If you do not have a truly useful thing to say about something, say nothing at all.

Email Marketing – 5 Simple Tips to Writing Emails That EARN Money!

First of all, there’s no sense in you learning email marketing like I did. That hard way. Because 15 years back — when I got into this whole “Internet Marketing” gig — there was no blueprint for this stuff.

We were blazing trails. My “Sales Dudes” colleagues and I had to learn email marketing the hard way… in the real world… getting our butts kicked… with REAL money on the line.

So everything I’m about to tell you is based on real numbers obtained through split testing and tracking. (And by the way, that hasn’t changed. You’ll want to split test and track everything you do. Don’t worry… it’s easier than you’d imagine.)

Okay… here are five tips to get your emails opened and READ — which is how you’re going to build interest in your product and services and ultimately make money.

1. Your Subject Line is your HEADLINE:
If you know even a little about ad writing, you know that function of the headline is the grab attention and pull the reader into the body copy. Well this is exactly what the subject line of your message does — and more.

It’s main purpose is to get the prospect to open the email instead of deleting it.

Do not reveal too much information in the subject line. Instead, entice the reader. Which means you’ll want to avoid a subject line that reads something like, “Buy my amazing eBook today, you’ll really like it” or some such thing.

Believe me, this is an invitation to get your message deleted or dumped into a spam folder.

Instead give some intriguing bit of info about the eBook. Something like “Mistakes that are killing your online sales”.

Suddenly you’ve got their attention. And they’re opening the email.

2. Get Personal.

It’s likely you’ve obtained your prospect’s email address through a sign-up page where you should have also asked for the first name. USE that name. It’s a strategy that’s been a PROVEN winner for me.

Why? Well, as Dale Carnegie says in his book “How To Win Friends And Influence People”, there are few things that sound sweeter to a person than his or her own name.

So when you initially collect up the prospect’s information in your capture form you’ll want to make sure you at least ask for their first name and email address.

“Hey Bob…” sounds a lot more pleasing to Bob than does “Dear Friend…”

3. Write to just ONE person.

You are always directing your message to just one person.

The biggest mistake of rookie email marketers is to stand on a podium and talk to a large group of people. Hello all you people out there. Thank you all for coming. It’s nice to talk to you millions of internet surfers.

This is a disconnect for the reader.

You instead want to approach your copy as a personal one on one message. It’s gotta feel something like: Psst. Hey Suzy, I’ve got something for you. This is between me and you.

4. Get the reader to DO something.

You must be clear about what you want your prospect to DO. I typically am trying to get the prospect to click on a link that takes them to a web page where they can read a tip or get a free video lesson or newsletter or download a free eBook or some such thing.

I do this for a couple reasons.

First is that, as I’ve said, I’m interested in building a relationship of trust with the prospect by giving away valuable tips and information.

But number two is that I’m actually in the process of “training” the prospect to open my emails, read them, and click on the links.

I’m not suggesting you treat your prospects like a salivating Pavlov’s dog, but if you do a good job of getting your prospect to actually look forward to opening your emails and clicking on your links, you’ll have a much better chance at keeping them on your list and of course selling them product.

5. Use a PROVEN 7-Element Format.

Okay… when it comes to writing your body copy, there’s no reason to reinvent the wheel. You can simply use what’s been proven to be most effective. Here’s the 7-element format that’s worked best for me.

- Element #1 — Your “natural” greeting.
Again… use your personalization. Be friendly and natural. “Hey Bob” or “Hi Mary” or “John, you gotta check this out” sounds a lot more intriguing than “Dear Friend”.

- Element #2 — Your “tie-in” opening line.
Make it interesting and tie it into your subject line. If my subject line were “Jim, Are You Killing Sales With These Stupid Mistakes?” the opening line of the body message could begin, “Hi Jim, I just hope to God you’re not making these dumb mistakes with your business.” Now you’ve got their attention.

- Element #3 — Why are you writing them?
You want to get straight to the point. People are busy, so avoid anything that drifts into a “sit back so I can tell you a loong boring story” kind of thing. Instead get right into it. For example: “I’ve got something you’ll want to see right away — a NO-COST 12 page guide that covers the five most common mistakes online companies make”.

- Element #4 — What does this have to do with them?
Okay, right away the prospect will start asking one simple question. Know what it is? It’s “So What”? You must quickly make it clear as to why this message is so important to them.

For example: These are the five BIGGEST reasons why businesses like yours sputter to a grinding halt. So I’ve spelled out the mistakes in black and white and the simple solutions that can make the difference between consistent growing success or heartbreaking failure.

It’s important that you keep up a sense of mystery. Do you remember the goal? It’s to get the prospect to click on the link. Give him too much info and he won’t have to hit the link.

- Element #5 — What Do You Want Them To Do?
Again… this is critical. Spell it out clearly.

I see so many people fall down on the job here. What do you want your prospect to do? Don’t beat around the bush. Be clear and straight to the point. For example: To get my now world-famous report “The 5 Stupidest Mistakes Of Online Businesses” right now you must click on the link below.”

Never assume that your prospect will figure it out on his own or that you’re pointing out the obvious and so it doesn’t need to be said.

The greatest direct sales copywriters in the world will all agree — you must TELL the prospect exactly what you want them to do — no matter how ridiculous it may seem. Go to the phone and dial this number. Tell the operator you want xyz… or click on the link below right now. It will take you to my free report. When you get there, click the “download now” button.

See how that works? People need clear directions or they simply will not act.

- Element #6 — Give them a reason to act now.
People will put off acting if they can. So put some kind of limitation into the deal.

A time limit. For example: “but hurry, you’ve got just 24 hours before my web geek shuts this all down”.

Or a quantity limit, “you must act now, I’ve sold this report all over the world for $69, so I am allowing just 200 downloads of this report”.

Or bonus material if they act right away. For example: “And Tony, if you jump on this right now, I’ll also include a downloadable video lesson ‘Setting up Web Pages That Sell Big’. It’s almost 30 minutes of PROVEN layout and copy secrets that can easily DOUBLE your online sales. Simple but powerful stuff you don’t want to miss out on — and it’s all yours for nothing. But only if you act now.”

- Element #7 – A personal sign off.
Make yourself sound like a real human being. People like to know that there’s an actual person behind the keyboard — someone they could know and trust, maybe even become friends with.

To strengthen this notion, sign off with some pizazz. In fact, for almost every client that I’ve written for, we’ve developed a personal sign off and a nickname.

For example, with a recent pest control client his sign off became:

“For a bug-free home… Chet, The Termite Terminator”

My self defense client it was:

“For a safer life… Bob, Head Honcho”

My golf client and business partner we have:

“For better golf… Doc O’Leary, Head golf nut.”

You gotta admit, that’s certainly better than the boring old “Sincerely, Doc O’Leary”

Okay, that’s the how you want to set up your message.

The info I provided you is a good start, and you should begin using these tips immediately. But I can’t possibly cover ALL the ins-and-outs of writing and setting up effective emails here in this article — which is why I’ve created a free downloadable report at:

[http://www.TheSalesDudes.com]

But what you’ve just received will certainly help you develop a warmer and deeper relationship with your prospects.

And once they feel comfortable with you, they’ll be far more likely to trust you and give your products a try.